Friday 11 June 2010

Out in the open

Today I had a day off work and since the weather was good I decided to pack up a rig and antenna, a flask and some sandwiches and go portable!
I drove to Bwllch-y-Clawdd, a high spot  about 30 minutes drive from where I live. This location overlooks the Rhondda Valley  and the views are pretty amazing from here.

I set up the Icom 706 and  Buddistick antenna, powered from my portable 20ah battery (weighs around 705Kgs!) and I was ready to go. This is a very peaceful location, for the three hours or so I was there I saw no-one else. I have operated VHF previously  from this location and know that its a good site. However I had not tried HF before and I wondered if with my limited small vertical antenna I would be able to work anything. I was able to vary my output power but for the most part I was running around 30 watts.
Initial attempts were not too promising with just a marginal QSO with a mobile station on the Isle of Man on 40 metres SSB.
Switching to 10 metres I had a little more success working into Germany and Italy, one of the Italian stations was running only 900 milliwatts!

6 Metres was also open, but try as I might I could not get my antenna to a good match on 6 metres although it is supposed to work on that band.

All in all an enjoyable few hours using the radio in the fresh air. A couple of learning points too.
1) The Buddistick on its little tripod is prone to blow over in a strong breeze, I need to look into a way of weighting or anchoring the tripod better.
2) The Buddistick whilst a clever antenna can be VERY tricky to tune. I have read that the radial length is important but varying the radial length didn't seem to make much diffeence for me.
3) I could not tune the antenna on 6 metres at all. I need to look into this as I like to operate 6 when the band is open.

I do have a small MFJ ATU which I could take with me but I would like to get the antenna to match as closely as I can without an ATU, after all its just more weight in my rucksack!!


  1. That looks a lovely peaceful spot. Glad you enjoyed it. Hope you can sort out the prblems with the Buddistick's tuning. That battery looks like a monster!

    What radio do you use for SWLing btw?

    Bye for now, Adam

  2. Hi Adam,

    For SWL I use mainly the Kenwood R5000, I also have a Kenwood R1000 which I find to be a very good receiver. For VHF/UHF listening I have the Icom PCR1000 computer controlled receiver.

    73 Kevin

  3. I found the same problem (blowing over in the wind) with the original MP-1 on its tripod. It's also too close to the ground for good efficiency. Unfortunately I haven't found a good solution for using it from hilltops where there is no picnic table or similar to clamp it to. A photo tripod would be the best thing but I'm not keen on carrying heavy stuff up hills. A 705Kg battery?? What's it made of, dark matter?

  4. oops, that should be a 7.5Kg battery!!